My car died in the parking lot outside of Shopko on Monday with frigid temperatures outside and snow falling.
Automobiles, laptop computers, and microwave ovens have been causing problems for our family lately and its embarrassing to admit how much we miss those conveniences when they are not working properly. In fact, its frustrating. Yet, God still listens to our prayers even when they sound like a tantrum from an overly-pampered, spoiled person like myself.
Now that the battery in our car has been replaced with the help of a few good friends, I have gained a greater perspective on these important truths: 1) It’s much easier to fix things when you have the right tools and, 2) how nice it is to have a few good friends who are willing to help when you ask for it.
The problem with me is that I hate asking for help.
Why is it so hard for me to ask for help? Perhaps its a pride thing. Okay, it is a pride thing. Our silly pride seems to get in the way of so many things. As a result, tasks which could be simple to fix take much longer. We don’t learn from other’s, but our pride insists that we only learn from our own errors. Pride even gets in the way of our relationships by focusing on serving self instead of others. It’s even pride that gets in the way of our relationship with God.
It’s our pride that tends to think of our relationship with God on a contractual basis. We think that if we only do our part, then God will do his part. If we only try to do good to others, be a good citizen, pay our taxes, and donate money to worthy causes, then God will do his part and let good people like us go to heaven. That’s how our world operates, so it makes sense that God would operate in the same way. It seems both fair and right.
There’s a story of a young rich man who thought the same way. He thought he had done everything possible to earn his way to heaven. He went up to Jesus and sincerely asked, “What more must I do?” Expecting Jesus’ approval of his high character and standing, he received a startling answer in return. “Sell everything that you have,” Jesus answered, “and give it to the poor.” Being quite wealthy, that was an impossible thing for him to do. Dejected, the rich young man turned away in sadness.
What is the standard of righteousness to go into heaven? Was Jesus being unfair? Our pride tells us that we only have to be good enough and better than the next guy. Yet, according to God, there is a different standard. For those whose pride insists that they can earn a ticket to heaven, Jesus has a different standard. That standard is perfection. Only those who are perfect can enter the gates of heaven. This answer even startled the disciples who then asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
God made the impossible to be possible through Jesus’ death on the cross. By his substitution for us, we are declared perfect, righteous, and fully forgiven. Faith alone receives the full benefits of what Christ has already done for us.
My dead battery this morning reminded me of my pride and my need for help. When my car is running well, my life runs well. And the same can be said for my relationship with God. When my sins reign in my life, I lead a broken life. It’s only when my pride is broken and I say “Help” to God that I am restored. It’s my pride that gets in the way from not only having a life that runs well like a fixed car, but an eternal life awaiting that will be a pure blessing in the presence of our Heavenly Father.